The True Leader We Believe In
The wide arrays of the many golden qualities of the personality of Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke combine to make the task of writing about him as he marks his tenth year anniversary as the Provost of Institute of Ecumenical Education a tough job.
They also combine to make his rare personality quite different from other people and very interesting to write about. In 1988 Chinua Achebe had an opportunity to speak to a University community in a paper he entitled, “The Universities and the Leadership Factor in Nigerian Politics”.
In the paper he observed that, “when an organization is engaged in a difficult undertaking or is in pursuit of a risky objective… the need for competent leadership becomes particularly urgent.” The need for a competent leader like the person of Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke; a square peg in a square hole, became particularly urgent in Institute of Ecumenical Education immediately he completed his studies in Austria.
When one remembers how depraved, rusticated, crude and ‘insane’ our learning environment that has now been so excellently transformed since your inception as Provost of Institute of Ecumenical Education, one cannot but say Deo gratias!
Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke is a big commentary to humanity. He is an extraordinary emphasis and irresistible footnote to creation in general. I have had the opportunity of experiencing the abundantly inspiring qualities and gifts with which you are so divinely endowed with these past three years I served as your Deputy Provost. I have also had many opportunities to witness many people comment about you in extraordinarily remarkable and awesome ways. At those moments, I always use to be enthused to listen further, edified for the positive impact God is using you to achieve in the lives of our students and humanity in general and inspired to always emulate those rare qualities that distinguish you from the rest of humanity.
One of us has rightly observed that “the man Christian was behaving true to his name even before he was christened.” Another has also rightly observed that, “the man Chinedu has been led by God’s own hands and like a pencil in God’s own hands has been carving golden path ways in the sands of time.” Even before you were born God has so destined that you are going to be possessed with many colors of those adorable qualities that define competent and positively influential leaders.
John C. Maxwell lists some of those qualities in his book on Leadership. They include character, charisma, commitment, competence, discernment, focus, generosity, initiative, listening, passion, positive attitude, problem solving, responsibility, security, self discipline, servant-hood, teachability and above all vision. Vision is akin to dream, but this is the type of dream that is so focused on by the power of the imagination that unconsciously says, “you see things and you say “why?”; but I dream things that never were and I say “Why not?”.
Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke has created holistic excellence in the life of the Institute he met in the last ten years. This is indeed what makes the tale of the tales of our dearest and visionary Provost not only a fruitful one but a special one as well.
The institute is now a learning environment where sanity and discipline are ingrained in our psychological consciousness. A cult free learning environment where students who are serious from day one of their entrance into the Institute and our sister University know when they are graduating and when to go for youth service. A learning system where her Provost and other Principal Officers are not just administrative officers but also teachers. A learning system that lives in peace, respects and accommodates people of different cultural traits, backgrounds and origin. A learning system that knows and understands the meaning of the saying that prayer is the key to success and live it out three times daily is not only special but should be considered outstanding.
Excellent leadership consciousness involves doing something outstanding, innovative and out of the ordinary and thus changing or modifying the status quo. To do so in most cases requires a lot of courage. To move a system forward requires courage. Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke does not only move but he moves in such a convincing way that it becomes irresistible to follow him. He always inspires those who work with him by his own conviction that change is possible.
This could be seen in various ways he influences those who come in contact with him by imbuing them with perceptible determination to thread insurmountable challenges in life. A man with an exceptionally magnanimous heart; big enough to tolerate and accommodate challenges of mankind that come his ways in various sizes and shapes on daily basis. This is a man we are very proud to associate with and very proud to celebrate today.
To conclude I wish to associate the person of our courageous, exemplary and transformative leader, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke with those words with which our Lord Jesus Christ used to qualify the person of Nathaniel namely, “behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile nor deceit no falsehood nor duplicity.” (cf. John 1:47). In the words of the famous Archbishop Fulton Sheen human beings who possess these qualities are people whose lives are not waxed. They are people who are ‘sine cera’ i.e. people who are without wax in them.
Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke’s many outstanding golden qualities of simplicity, gentility, magnanimity, tenacity, passion, compassion, determination, vision and sincerity all combine to prove him as a true litmus test of what change entails in our changing world all combine as credible evidences to prove that there is no guile in him. Ride on my dearest Provost and may the good and loving God who has led you thus far continue to bless, prosper and favor the good works of your noble hands, amen.
Ad multos annos!
Rev Fr. Paul Ottakagu
Institute of Ecumenical Education